Wednesday, 5 September 2007

South Lanarkshire Council

South Lanarkshire Council (SLC) is going to be a hive of activity over the next few months.

South Lanarkshire is the only council in Scotland that is in complete denial over equal pay - see posts dates 1 August and 2 April 2007. SLC says it does not have an equal pay problem and that the council introduced a new and non-discriminatory pay structure back in 2004.

Baloney!

The fact is that SLC has a bigger problem than any other council in Scotland - because council leaders have their heads stuck in the sand - hoping that if they don't acknowledge the mess they're in, it will somehow go away.

SLC has an Employment Tribunal hearing coming up in January 2008 - and Action 4 Equality intends to make the council's behaviour a big local issue over the next few months - with the help of our 1500 clients.

We plan to hold a series of local meetings to explain just how dishonest the council's position is and what people can do to help achieve a just outcome over equal pay.

Here are some pointed questions to ask of local councillors and the council leadership (an unlikely coalition of Labour and Tory members):
  1. Why is the council afraid to publish the pay rates (or salary levels) of traditional male jobs such as refuse drivers?

  2. Why did the council (in 2004) simply absorb the big bonus payments of traditional male jobs into new and higher salaries - but without any corresponding increase for the women's jobs?

  3. Why did the council not use the national Job Evaluation scheme recommended and approved by CoSLA - at a cost of £250,000 to the public purse?

  4. Why did Councillor Pat Watters (current CoSLA President and President in 2004) ignore his own advice and the advice of his own officials - and opt instead for a 'cheap and cheerful' SLC Job Evaluation scheme?

  5. Why does the council leadership still pretend that there is not a big pay gap between traditional male and female jobs in SLC - for example between a home carer and refuse driver?
Raising these issues will expose the great gaping hole in the council's argument - and will also generate an important debate within the council and beyond.

South Lanarkshire employees are being treated as second class citizens - they deserve better and they are entitled to equal pay under the law.

So, time to get going - and let the council know it's got a fight on its hands - one they are going to lose, unless wiser heads prevail.

If you would like to arrange a meeting in your own local area, contact Mark Irvine on 0131 667 7956 or by email at: markirvine@compuserve.com

If you know of any SLC employees who have not yet registered an equal pay claim, tell them they can still do so. They'd be mad not to - because they've nothing to lose and plenty to gain!